So there’s a company I’ve loved for a number of years now and its called “Saddleback Leather Company”. So much so, in fact, that I have purchased way too many of their items (according to my wife), told a bunch of fiends about their high quality leather goods, and even reached out to the founder to let him know how much I admired his work and the company he’s built (and if you recall, we've even given aways a few of their products!).
I’ve been a big fan for approximately 10 years now, so it pains me to see the changes the company is apparently going through. It all started when I received a wallet from them and noticed how obviously their quality had slipped (the leather they used and finish of the goods, were noticeably different and not in a good way). Then I noticed that they started adding a bunch of new items, brought in family members to help run the business, changed their suppliers, and kind of get away from what made them unique … a great personal story combined with extremely high quality products. Dave Munson, their founder, really had a great story to tell and is a extremely religious and charitable man, so it came as no surprise that he was constantly posting his trips to Africa with his family, to help folks that needed it (another reason I fell in love with Saddleback). With all that time away, attention to other endeavors, and a not “sticking to the knitting”, the company he built has indeed stated to suffer in my opinion. Why do I say that? Here are some of the reasons:
1) Saddleback reviews have gone from what used to be almost 100% positive, to something way “south”of that.
2) The current product assortment is a “hodgepodge” of items. What used to be mainly leather bags and wallets, now includes things like dog collars, jewelry, and fishing accessories.
3) How they now handle things like product assortment announcements and price increases. While apparently trying to be “transparent” in their decision making making, their emails and posts explaining their decisions are somewhat hard to believe and incoherent. For example … I challenge you to read this announcement about a price increase they describe as “huge” and feel somewhat comfortable about their rationale: http://www.saddlebackleather.com/latest-news/price-increase-newsletter-2016
4) it clearly seems that Dave has stepped away from the business from the emails that are sent out to his pursuit of other endeavors.
Look … I have the utmost respect for the man and his company (my long time loyalty proves that), and he can do whatever he chooses to do with his company and take it in any direction he wants to … but I also have the right to feel differently about what Saddleback now represents (and clearly, I’m not the only one). I’m just glad I bought the “old” Saddleback products when I did and hope that one day they can get back to what made them a favorite of mine to begin with.
MY HUMBLE REQUEST: If you ever sense this happening here at Matte For Men, please, please let me know!